Scarpa North America Blog

Category Archives: Trips

Skiing the Antarctic Peninsula

Nov. 7th 2013

Doug Stoup has been pioneering ski descents along the Western Antarctic Peninsula since 2000. He’s led 15 expeditions to the peninsula and says it is by far one of the most spectacular ski destinations on the planet. One of Stoup’s biggest challenges organizing a trip like this is accommodating 120 skier’s different needs and expectations. “Most of the client’s goal is to ski Antarctica,” said Stoup. “My goal is for them to become an ambassador for the continent. The Antarctic is a place I fell in love with and it has not disappointed anyone.”

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Ski Mountaineering the Grand Teton with Jason Dorais

Aug. 1st 2013

When Jason Dorais and longtime ski buddy, Lars Kjerengtroen tackled the the Grand Teton this spring, they lucked out with near perfect conditions for ski mountaineering. The snowpack they encountered while cramponing up Tepee Glacier and then to the Glencoe Couloir proved to be stable in the early morning. But as they reached the Stettner Couloir, the bright sun was causing snowmelt, increasing the chance of wet slab avalanches, so the team increased their climbing pace to reach the summit before conditions became too dangerous.

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Espana Tranquila: Relaxing Spain

May. 30th 2013

SCARPA team member and frequent climber, Scott Bennett, recently spent a few months in Spain on what he calls an “everyman’s Spanish climbing trip.” Bennett hails from Michigan but once he discovered climbing moved to Boulder, Colo. where he works part-time for SCARPA and spends the rest of his time at local climbing spots or planning his next expedition.

Forest Woodward is no sissy alpine climber!
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Putting It Into Perspective: A walk through SCARPA’s factory floor

Apr. 5th 2013

Until you reach the source, it’s often hard to fully understand how products are imagined, designed and created. Last week, a group of North American media and folks from SCARPA’s North American arm made the pilgrimage to the small agrarian town of Asolo, Italy, to have a look into how the 75-year-old company stays on top. When we arrived in the front office on that rainy March afternoon, one thing became abundantly clear: it’s a family affair.

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Steady As She Goes: Big mountain backcountry skier Kellie Okonek sounds off on injury, engineering and striking that even balance

Feb. 19th 2013

Kellie Okonek

Kellie Okonek is out for the season, thanks to a blown anterior cruciate ligament, but she’s already had a bigger start that most of us, having just returned from a trans-Pacific tour to southern Japan, so she’s not sweating it. The Alaskan engineer turned ski mountaineer is on the recovery, but nevertheless remains in the full stride of life. We were able to get a hold of her post-surgery, and get some insight on the coming year as her knee heals and plans unfold.

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Pushing the Limits of Tennis Shoes in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains

Oct. 4th 2012

Sherrie making progress toward Chitna Creek confluence with Caribou Creek, on of the day's major milestones

SCARPA athlete, Kellie Okonek, discovered her calling in life when she moved to Alaska and began exploring the mountains there. She has since climbed and skied in remote places all over the world. She recently took advantage of the last moments of warm weather up north to backpack and raft in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains.

When I started looking closer at the maps and seeing the big storms in the weather forecast for Southcentral Alaska, the doubts over our trip started creeping in. Sherrie and I planned to hike from the Eureka Roadhouse on the Glenn Highway, 60 miles overland to the headwaters of the Talkeetna River. From the small roadside town, we’d take 2.5 days to hike 60 miles mostly off-trail, over two passes (4800′ and 6000’), then raft 40 miles of the Talkeetna River. At the confluence with Prairie Creek, we would meet friends who planned to fly in with a cataraft and run the famous class IV Talkeetna River canyon (“the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in Alaska” and one of the state’s most classic river trips) to the town of Talkeenta.

Caribou Creek shrinking as we neared the headwaters

I really started thinking about the logistics and thoughts of all that could go wrong rushed in with a vengeance. I haven’t been nervous for a trip in a while; I have to admit in many ways it felt good to try something I wasn’t sure I could do. We made contingency bailout plans for the inability to cross high passes due to weather, packed a little extra food in case we had to hike out without the cataraft to travel the high-volume canyon, and left a good communication plan in case we didn’t make it out.

Fortunately, our first full day of hiking up Caribou Creek was graced with sunshine. Given the multiple thigh-deep river crossings of this glacial stream, and blessed with peak fall colors, the bright skies made our day super enjoyable as we covered ground.

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SCARPA Employee, Artley Goodhart climbs El Cap in Yosemite

Jun. 14th 2012

Artley Goodhart has been working for SCARPA for 4 years in the distribution department. In addition to his day job, he is currently in school and climbing as much as he can in his free time. SCARPA recently gave him time off work to go climb in Yosemite. He completed the Triple Direct route of El Capitan and wrote a detailed summary of his trip and the climb:

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Unaweep Wall – “That’s All I’m Asking For”

Sep. 9th 2011

Adventure (verb): Engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory.

This past weekend, that is what my friend, Jesse Zacher and I had hoped to do. We were after an adventure into new terrain and onto new stone. And an adventure (noun) was what we experienced.

Jesse had enlisted a new friend, Ryan from North Carolina, to help us schlep water and supplies to the base of the wall because it was going to be in the 90’s all weekend and we couldn’t haul all the goods ourselves. He told Ryan that the hike would be through wild terrain.

It didn’t take us long to realize just how “wild” the terrain actually was. Within one minute of leaving the truck, I found myself passing 70lb packs over barbed wire The next moment, we were navigating a river crossing on moss-covered polished rocks. Soon after, we were faced with having to claw our way up a 100 yards of steep hillside. What made that difficult was the six-foot tall blackberry and raspberry bushes. Tasty as they were, their thorns punished us for trespassing. Did I mention that Ryan did all this while wearing his Chaco sandals? What a trooper! The first thing we asked this guy (who we didn’t even know) was to bushwhack through hell! Even with bleeding feet, he smiled every bit of the way!

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Cory Richards reflects on Gasherbrum II winter alpine ascent

Jul. 14th 2011
On February 2, the team of American climber and photographer Cory Richards, Italian climber Simone Moro, and Kazahk alpinist Denis Urubko completed the first winter ascent of an 8000-meter peak in the Karakorum, on Gasherbrum II, the world’s 13th-highest mountain. While recovering in Thailand, Cory had some time to talk to SCARPA and reflect on the achievement.

Q – When did you get the idea for climbing 8000 meter peaks? And when did you see them as something feasible to attempt in winter?


CR – Feeling that unique isolation that the mountains offer is something that my folks were instrumental in fostering in my brother and I growing up.  Over the evolution of my own climbing career, I’ve tried very hard to stay true to that ideal…to look for honest ‘adventure’ in things.  Some people find that by climbing super fast, others by soloing…I just like being completely out there…alone with your partners.  In the Himamlaya, that isolation seems to be able to be most thoroughly achieved through doing new lines, or climbing in the winter…or both.  As for 8000 meters…it just happens to be that number that encapsulates our highest points…and because of that, those peaks in particular draw a lot of attention.  In a lot of cases, it seems that the higher the altitude, the higher the stakes…or perhpas more eloquently…the less margin for error we are allowed.  But in all honesty, it’s not so much about climbing 8000 meter peaks as it is about having fun and hanging it out there in the big mountains…that can happen on a 6000 m peak just as easily…and often times even more so.  CLimbing in winter just seemed like a natural progression, though a bit abrupt .

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Catching up with…Polar Explorer and Climate Change Champion Eric Larsen

Feb. 24th 2011

This last November SCARPA athlete and polar explorer Eric Larsen completed his Save the Poles expedition – and epic trip involving reaching both the North and South Pole and the summit of Mount Everest in a calendar year to raise awareness of Global Warming.

He placed himself in the some of the world’s most remote, and otherwise most inhospitable environments to show why they’re worth saving. Through his efforts he’s garnered attention on the world stage. Now, months after his journey, we got him to answer a few questions about what it means to realize a major life goal.

Q – You’ve successfully completed the expedition. You’ve been interviewed and celebrated in the media. Was it what you expected? Do you feel you drew the kind of attention you sought for regarding global warming?

EL – Honestly, I expected I would be able to promote more climate change initiatives—solutions to the problem of global warming. Instead I spend a lot of my time simply verifying that, yes, these places are indeed melting. I had substantial media coverage, but there is definitely more I can do. This story isn’t finished yet.

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